The Value of a Blog
Unless you are a media company, your blog does not make you money directly. It is a tool that can funnel people into your site to learn more about your business and buy other products.
My favorite corporate blog that ties into its product is the Date Report from How About We. It is funny, clever, and relevant to people who would be interested in buy the How About We product, online dating services.
That blog ranks high on Google for many dating related terms, draws in potential customers, provides viral quality content, and encourages another form of engagement and interaction with the company. It raises brand awareness and draws in new customers.
Trust and Reputation
A company blog can also provide current and potential customers with another avenue to connect with a company. An example of this is the blog of General Electric, called GE Reports.
GE Reports builds brand awareness and discusses the efforts of the company to evolve and meet customer needs. If a customer can see GE publicizing what it is doing to solve customer problems, they are likely to be more loyal to the company.
The blog also controls some of the publicly available information on the company. GE has been under fire in the past, and some business units are not in line with what many consumers want to see a company doing. However, they publish quality content about the good things the company does for the community.
Worth the Cost?
A blog is not free. While you most likely already have a domain and hosting, a blog needs a quality design and quality content. A custom design can easily cost upwards of $10,000 and a typical blog post may take more than an hour to write. At $30 an hour for an in-house media manager, company blog costs can easily reach into tens of thousands per year.
It does not have to be that way, of course. You can find cheaper designers and write the content yourself. But your time has a value as well.
At the end of the day, it is important to assess the potential revenue and sales advantage of a company blog against the costs. If you are on the fence, you may be pleasantly surprised by the results.